TCU comeback falls short. USC 80, TCU 78

Photos by Dominic Ceraldi

TCU was unable to complete a valiant second half comeback as it fell, 80-78, to USC Friday night in the inaugural basketball game played at Fort Worth’s new Dickies Arena.
Down by as many as 18 points early in the second half, the Horned Frogs (6-2) fought back to eventually tie the game, 78-78, on a layup by Kevin Samuel with eight seconds to play. Samuel, who finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds, missed the ensuing free throw, which set up the game-winning tip-in by USC’s Nick Rakocevic with 0.2 seconds remaining. The Trojans (8-2) outshot the Frogs 52.6 percent to 43.3 percent.
It was the fifth double-double of the season for Samuel. The team’s leading scorer this season, Desmond Bane finished with 13 points before fouling out with 31.6 seconds remaining. 
Edric Dennis also contributed 12 points to the scoring effort. Freshman Francisco Farabello provided a spark off the bench with eight points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field and four assists. Diante Smith recorded four points and a career-high six rebounds.
Up Next
TCU finishes 2019 with four-straight games at Schollmaier Arena, beginning with Winthrop on Wednesday at 7 p.m. It will be televised on FSSW.
Team Notes
– TCU and USC met for the second consecutive season and fourth time overall. TCU won 96-61 on Dec. 7, 2018 in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
– TCU faced a Pac-12 opponent for the 50th time in program history.
– TCU moved to 2-2 all-time against USC.
– The Horned Frogs dropped to 17-4 in December games and 52-11 in non conference games in the Jamie Dixon era.
– TCU started with the lineup of Edric Dennis, Desmond Bane, RJ Nembhard, Jaire Grayer and Kevin Samuel for the second consecutive game.
– The Horned Frogs made a season-high 15 free throws in 17 attempts for an 88.2 percent effort at the charity stripe. It was TCU’s highest free throw percentage since TCU shot 21-of-22 (95.5 percent) on free throws at Kansas on Jan. 6, 2018.Individual Notes
Kevin Samuel led the Horned Frogs with 17 points and 11 rebounds, his fifth double-double of the season and the ninth of his career.
– On the defensive end, Samuel recorded two blocks and two steals. He has now recorded at least one blocked shot in 28 consecutive games dating back to last season. Additionally, it was the sixth game of Samuel’s career where he recorded multiple steals and blocks.
Desmond Bane scored 13 points and recorded two steals, giving him a steal for the ninth consecutive game dating back to last season.
– Edric Dennis scored 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting, his third double-digit scoring effort of the season.
RJ Nembhard scored 11 points, dished out four assists and recorded two steals. Nembhard has now scored in double-figures in six of his seven games played this season.
– Freshman Francisco Farabello scored eight points on 3-of-5 shooting, including 2-of-3 from beyond-the-arc. 
– Farabello also dished out four assists without committing a single turnover, becoming the only player this season to have multiple games of four assists and no turnovers.
Jaire Grayer scored nine points on 4-of-7 shooting and made a 3-pointer in the first half, giving him at least one 3-pointer made in seven of his first eight games this season.

Courtesy; TCU Basketball